February 12, 2019

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Have you ever been afraid to speak up and share your faith in Christ, fearful something bad might happen if you did?

Recently, a public high school football coach in Bremerton, WA, was suspended and later fired because it was his practice to offer a silent, 30-second prayer at the 50-yard line following his team’s games. Coach Kennedy had always bowed for prayer, win or lose, throughout his career. The Bremerton School District fired him because “fans and students could see him kneeling after the games.” What’s more, a federal district court upheld Coach Kennedy’s termination. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that because Coach Kennedy could be seen by students and fans engaging in religious expression, the school had the right to terminate his employment. The ruling basically meant the coach’s silent prayers were not protected by the Constitution. It was announced on January 23, 2019, that the Supreme Court of the U.S. would not hear his appeal at this time, although the door remained open for a future appeal.*

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” It is sad to think that in America, a high school football coach could lose his job simply for kneeling in prayer on the field following a game. However, this is now a reality in today’s world. Keep in mind first-century Christians, like Paul and Timothy, faced much greater hardship. Many lost their lives while standing strong for their belief in Jesus. Christians can stand strong in the face of persecution because the Holy Spirit stands with us and in us.

*For more information on Coach Kennedy and how you can pray or help, go to www.FirstLiberty.org. This Dallas law firm is led by Baylor graduate Kelly Shackelford and defends cases across America having to do with violations of religious liberty.